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United States v. Monsoor

ELR Citation: 26 ELR 20705
Nos. No. 95-1898, 77 F.3d 1031/(7th Cir., 03/01/1996)

The court affirms the conviction under the Lacey Act of a commercial fisher who sold in interstate commerce over 100 pounds of catfish caught with a seine net in violation of a Wisconsin regulation. The court first notes that the state regulation is permissive. The regulation prohibits commercial fishing in general, but allows commercial fishers to take catfish that are more than 15 inches in length. The court holds that removing more than 100 pounds of catfish of any length, exceeds the permission granted by the regulation, and that the government need not prove that the catfish were 15 inches or longer. The regulation also allows commercial fishers to catch catfish with seine nets, but limits the catch to 100 pounds per day, of catfish that are greater than 15 inches in length.

The court next holds that the commercial fisher was not entitled to a hearing on whether he was selectively prosecuted by the state's environmental agency. The commercial fisher failed to establish that he was singled out for prosecution while other similarly situated individuals were not prosecuted. The government eliminated other parties because it had no evidence linking them to the interstate transport of illegally obtained catfish in violation of the Lacey Act. The court also holds that the fisher was not entitled to a hearing on whether he was vindictively prosecuted. The fisher submitted no evidence suggesting that the state's agents prevailed upon the United States in its decision to indict him for violations of the Lacey Act. The state submitted four names to the U.S. attorney, and there is no evidence that the state and federal agencies collaborated in any way thereafter.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Peggy Lautenschlager, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
660 W. Washington Ave., Ste. 200, Madison WI 53703
(608) 264-5158

Counsel for Defendant
Joseph Sommers
1805 E. Main St., Madison WI 53704
(608) 241-5947

Before CUMMINGS, FLAUM, and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.